Here in the museum we do not invite trouble,
only establishment woes, sort of. We can bet farther
and classier with no returns. Sometimes late at night

cars droned and paled: Splurge and repent—
wasn’t that the idea? It was your initiative
that brought us here, through the difficult part

of a city. Some angels
seemed to teeter on the wooden fence.
Were we all they knew?

Or are we part of their mind-cleansing
ritual, necessary and discardable?
Doesn’t that make more sense?

Less than an hour before our return from the lake
the trees blossomed like shells exploding,
the landscape sucked in its breath,

taking its time as always.
I meant to speak to your mother about it,
but never forgave her for not being here, and drab,

the way mothers are supposed to be,
I think. Too many applications of the rule ensue.
There are too many, always with us

under the tree that stands on the lawn
but is no longer there, as if to prove it was a dream,
a different time slot.


This poem first appeared in PEN America 13: Lovers.